Liberty University held a candlelight memorial service on Thursday, Aug. 23, on the steps of Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center in honor of three students who died this summer. Fellow students and representatives from the Student Affairs, Dean of Students, and Campus Pastors offices attended.
The Liberty community honored the lives of Awyetu “Hope” Wasa, 16, who died in a tragic plane crash in Nigeria June 3, and the Velarde siblings, Alexandra, 23, and Christian, 19, who died July 26 as a result of their injuries from a house fire in Paterson, N.J., July 25.
As bright candles lit the dark sky, students mourned together, prayed together, and sung together in worship, finding strength and support in their hope in God’s love and each other.
Friends and acquaintances of the deceased shared a few words, remembering the joys each individual had brought to the lives of others, and took hope in knowing they each had a relationship with Jesus and that they are now with Him in Heaven.
Representatives from Liberty’s student support services shared words of hope and encouragement from Scripture and reminded students that they are always available to provide prayer and support.
Wasa was only 16 when she passed away in the plane crash that shocked Nigeria and claimed the lives of 152 other passengers, including her mother, Ruth. She was planning on attending Liberty this semester to study computer engineering. Her friends remember her as a young lady who loved God, was very caring, and enjoyed singing.
Alexandra and Christian Velarde had an extremely close bond and were very active in their church. Alexandra transferred to Liberty in Fall 2011 and was a senior bio/chemistry major. Christian had enrolled as a new residential student this fall. Their close friends remember them as two of the kindest and friendliest people a person could know.